Just in time for the World Heritage Day in Germany, and before this year’s 43rd Session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Baku, World Heritage Watch has published its 2019 Report. On 184 pages, 48 authors report about 10 natural World Heritage sites, 3 sites with indigenous peoples, 6 cultural landscapes and mixed sites, 13 historic cities, and 10 monuments and sites. 13 sites receive attention for the first time while 4 reports deal with sites which have been nominated or might be nominated for World Heritage.
World Heritage Watch would like to express our most sincere gratitude to the authors for their outstanding work, and to the editing team which helped so much to make the Report a reality.
Together with the French people and the world
we mourn the loss of a priceless creation of human genius and a world heritage. The many expressions of grief we have received from people all around the world show us that Notre Dame actually is a common heritage of mankind not only on paper but one which is shared in the hearts of the people.
The tragic fire and the irreplaceable loss should remind us all how fragile our heritage is, and especially those who feel that one can compromise it for short-term interests should now think twice. We will all remain with a deep sense of loss and tragedy, and I am sure that those in Europe now will have a better sense of understanding what it means to the people when cultural heritage is destroyed in places more far from us.
May this moment, which will be remembered in history, be a call to the world to increase our efforts for the protection and safeguarding of our common heritage.
The President and Board of World Heritage Watch
World Heritage Watch is an independent non-governmental organization founded in 2014. We promote the preservation of UNESCO World Heritage worldwide. We watch that World Heritage is protected and maintained, and not sacrificed to political compromises and economic interests.
We support UNESCO in obtaining complete and accurate information about the situation of World Heritage sites. And we help local people to protect their sites and to derive an adequate benefit from them.
The sites that have been added to the list of World Cultural and Natural Heritage are the world’s most valuable monuments, the most significant historical cities, the most beautiful landscapes and the most breathtaking ecosystems and natural wonders. Because they are the most significant places on the planet to learn about people and nature, the community of nations has decided to protect them by binding international law.
However, a growing number of world heritage sites are endangered by development pressure, mass tourism, armed conflict, resource extraction, climate change, or construction activities, and by neglect and poor management. Recognition has grown that the more than 1000 UNESCO World Heritage Sites cannot be monitored and protected in the long run without the active involvement of civil society.